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I live with my 74-year-old father in the family home. The house is in disrepair. Ceiling tiles are falling in living room. There are huge holes and rips in the linoleum in the kitchen and first bathroom.


The floor in front of the toilet in the first bathroom is sinking, and I'm afraid it will eventually break through. The sink and the bathtub haven't been used since my mom died in 2017; my dad claims they leak and it took him forever to find the sweet spots. I am not allowed to touch them or move the hose in tub.


We have an unknown plumbing issue. Every so often, the pipe in the basement will "gurgle up," leaving toilet paper, feces, and urine all over the basement floor that then needs to be swept out and sanitized. This happens approximately every two months. My father's solution is to pour bleach down the basement drain.


The gutters haven't been cleaned in 5+ years. When it rains, water pools on the back patio and drains down a hole in the side of the house, into the basement.


All kitchen and household appliances are approximately 20 years old. The washer finally broke two days ago, and the dryer is on it's last legs.


I have tried, several times, tactfully to raise the subject of getting these things assessed and repaired, and have offered to go half on the expenses. Each time, I am met with excuses. "I can't afford it. The foundation might be cracked. They'll have to dig up the driveway. I'm too old. I don't have the stamina to deal with that."


When the washer broke, I was met with hostility and personal attacks that were out of place and confusing to me. "What did you do to the washer? You can't afford to own a home! I can't afford this! This house is nothing but a money-sink! It'll cost $20,000 just in repairs!"


I then suggested selling up now, while he's still alive, and move into a smaller home that is much easier to maintain. I was given more excuses. "I'm too old. I don't have the mental or physical stamina to do that."


I agree with my father that making these repairs will be expensive. However, whilst the home remains in this state of disrepair, he keeps giving away large sums to churches and charities. $1200 to a neighbor's church last month for Christmas. $800 every three months to Second Harvest. $300 every month to another neighbor's church. He is two months' behind on his phone bill, and he owes me $185.97, which he borrowed to buy xmas presents for my siblings. I did not get a xmas present.


I have suggested donating to charity after the house is repaired. I have suggested making a single repair one month, then a charity donation the next month, then a repair the third month, and so on. I have suggested that he would be in a better position to help others if he wasn't suddenly caught by a broken bathroom floor, for example, but instead dealt with it head-on. Each time, he gets a constipated look on his face and shuts down the conversation. I have even said God helps those who help themselves. It had no effect.


We are getting a new washer, but it took an enormous fight and I'm going to be washing my clothes in the sink for a couple of weeks while he "makes up his mind.".


I have just gotten a second job and have started to look for an apartment close by. I am angry all the time. I cannot deal with him in close quarters every single day anymore.


What do I do, aside from re-establishing my personal space and new boundaries? What on earth *can* I do? I am Power of Attorney. Do I have grounds for filing a motion for a mental incompetency declaration?


I'm also Executor and it is in the Will that I'm to sell the house immediately upon his death and split the proceeds equally with my siblings. He wants those proceeds to go to us as his gift to us, our inheritance, but if he doesn't take care of the house, and doesn't leave any money to repair the house later because he keeps giving it away, what inheritance?
Is he doing this on purpose?

Can you afford to rent a room somewhere?

Resign your POA I an orderly manner and leave.

Or, if your POA would allow you to access and control his monies upon activation, try to have him declared incompetent and get the repairs done.

Does he have the money to do the repairs? Are his finances transparent to you?

Have you thought about calling Adult Protective services (perhaps after the next gurgle--I wouldn't be cleaning that up) and seecwhat they advise?
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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While reading your letter, I was certain you were a minor child living at the mercy of your demented father’s choices…until you said you had POA. You need to step up your role as POA and take control of your dad’s finances. If he’s writing checks to those charities, arrange a meeting with his bank. (Bring your POA paperwork.) Those charities (or the neighbors) could be defrauding your dad and the bank might be willing to help you control that. See a lawyer if necessary, using your dad’s money. And, I agree, do not spend any of your own money on dad’s home repairs.

Meet with your siblings to enlist their help with dad’s behavior and perhaps another place to live. Dad’s home sounds like it should be condemned. You need to move out.

Take care of yourself.
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Reply to ventilatte707
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Jagermeister Jan 17, 2022
How do you just show up at the bank with POA paperwork? Aren't we required to present certification by a doctor that POA has been invoked? We have been trying for 2 years to take over BIL's finances, etc and no one will invoke his POA. He is clearly making very bad/harmful decisions (living in filth, bedbugs, non-working toilet, hoarding/squalorism) and EVERYONE says he can choose to live like this. APS even contacted him and told us the same thing. I told them BIL's decisions affect other people (bedbugs, odor) in his apartment complex. STILL no help from anyone. Since he is not MY relative, I give up. My DH can deal with him from now on. But it is so frustrating!!!
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"We have an unknown plumbing issue. Every so often, the pipe in the basement will "gurgle up," leaving toilet paper, feces, and urine all over the basement floor that then needs to be swept out and sanitized. This happens approximately every two months."

Does Dad have local sewerage or a septic tank? If sewerage there is probably a blockage in the pipes. For us it was tree roots growing into the pipes. Your Township can have a chemical put into the pipes that kill the roots. I would call them, ours caused a problem in one of our neighbors houses where it all backed up to her house and came up through a toilet in her downstairs and flooded the downstairs. If he has a septic tank, it may need cleaning out. This is serious, its a health problem. Your Dads house can be condemned because of his septic system.

I agree, I would give him no money to fix up the house. My Moms was the same way. Years of neglect because she didn't have the money. The bathroom floor was ready to cave in. In front of the kitchen sink was "mushy". I ended up selling it for 40k and that covered the tax and Medicaid liens. When all was said and done we children got about 10k to split between us. The man who bought it gutted it, new foundation and used the outer walls. Its not my parents house.

You are wise to get a place of your own and let the chips fall where they may. When things get bad, you call APS for a vulnerable adult.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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So is the plan for you to be the eventual 24/7/365 caregiving slave? If he keeps giving away money, there will be Medicaid penalties. Why are you the one who has to live with him like this? What do your sibs do? And the eventual house sale money will be split equally between you and your sibs?
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Reply to CTTN55
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Isthisrealyreal Jan 14, 2022
I don't think actual charitable donations would be considered gifting and create a penalty. He isn't trying to redistribute his wealth to family.
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You state in your profile that your dad has dementia. Alzheimer's.
At this point he is NOT competent.
YOU need to take control and stop him from spending his money that is not for his care. That includes upkeep of the house.
Do what needs to be done in order to enact the POA.
If that does not give you enough power to do what needs to be done then you may have to become his Guardian. (or another family member if this is not a role you want.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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The house is unsafe and due to years and years of neglect it is now going to be very expensive to fix.

First things first do not give any of your own money to make the necessary repairs. You are going to need that money to get a new place eventually.

Secondly you have no say so as a grown adult woman living in your father's house. Whatever he says is law and you are still emeshed in a parent child relationship with him and are being treated the same way he treated you as a child. I am happy you are working and saving to move out. Do not give him anymore money for anything. The more you prop him up the more he will dig his heels in to stay in that house.

He reminds me of my fil who gets 5500 a month in a pension and social security but lives in a run down shack because he foreclosed on his own house a year after his 6th wife died because he kept giving money to people instead of paying his bills. It's a sickness with him since he has done this his entire life.

It's not about being generous but about putting on a show to others to get praise and accolades from others. A form of narcissism.

Lastly your dad says he can't handle the the maintenance on the place so it's time for him to sell and move. But good luck getting him to do that. He's hanging onto the fact that after he dies the place will be sold and that will he his gift to his kids. But it won't be a gift it sounds like it will be more like a nightmare due to the homes disrepair.

I wish you strength to do what needs to be done for your own self preservation.
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Reply to sp19690
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Please get your father a medical, neurological, and psychological exam. God does want each of us to be generous, but He also expects us to be good stewards of the things He entrusts to our care - like the house. Seems the house is not safe to live in. Your father obviously is not able to care for his home. Please get him the treatment he needs so you can work to get you both into a safe living situation.
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Reply to Taarna
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There are some that accept change easily, downsize or move when required.

There are others that resist change, prefer what they know. Dig their heels in & stay put.

The movers will move.
The heel diggers dig. They
will either meet their end with their boots still on, or meet some crisis, then give in & move - or be moved against their will.

Now if the at-call home help quits, reduces services or moves out (that is currently all you!) Father will have his hand forced & you will see what cards he wants to play.

Keep up the 'chat'. Make it simple.

"House is falling apart - you need to repair it. Or move.
You need some home help. Or move into AL.
You can choose what to do. Or it will be chosen for you".

Is dementia part of the picture? Or just someone who likes where they live?
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Reply to Beatty
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It sounds like it might be time for a conservatorship to manage his finances. My 90 y.o. mother in law with early stage dementia has the same tendencies - we suspect that she thinks she's somehow trying to 'score points with God' by 'denying herself and being generous'. She was assigned a conservator years ago when she fell prey to the old 'Jamaican lottery' scam and lost tens of thousands of dollars. She still thinks to this day that the consevatorship is undeserved 'punishment' and that she 'was going to give all her "winnings" to poor people'. Now, if her house needs repairs, or she has other needs, we get an estimate and have it sent to the conservator. My mother-in-law gets a small allowance to do with as she pleases.
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Reply to MiSonInLaw
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If you have POA over your father use it. Is the POA medical or financial? Its time you get your own place and look into getting him the help he needs. If you can get help from a doctor on his condition if he has the start of dementia it might be good to get representative payee for his social security if he is at that age. I had to do this for my BIL because he had no sense of money he would draw out and leave it in the negative range then complain someone took his money. I have been rep. payee now for 4 yrs.

Prayers to you
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Reply to Babs2013
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